Swiss governmental communication agencies operate in an environment widely different from other Western democracies. In 2014, contrary to Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection, and Sport's (DDPS) hopes, the Swiss electorate voted against the procurement of a new fighter jet. In the aftermath of that vote, criticism about DDPS communication emerged. Hence, this thesis asks: How effective are the DDPS and armed forces governmental communication agencies within the realm of domestic politics? This thesis compares the governmental communication practitioners' work in two political campaigns that ended in public votes: in the 2013 vote, DDPS and its communication agencies achieved the desired outcome, but DDPS lost the 2014 public vote. The results of this analysis show that the communication practitioners meticulously planned, and, within their allowed leeway, executed their plans aptly. The idiosyncratic Swiss strategic culture, however, which is shaped by far-reaching public democratic rights and laws that reflect politics' tight grip on the military, significantly limit the communication practitioners' scope of action. With these restrictions, the Swiss, in their preference for democratic legitimacy over administrative efficiency, restrict the government's ability to act. Hence, the Swiss willingly create outcomes that leave them with security gaps.
Abenheim, Donald Halladay, Carolyn
Security Studies (Europe and Eurasia)
Naval Postgraduate School
Master of Arts in Security Studies (Europe and Eurasia)
National Security Affairs (NSA)
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